Saturday, June 05, 2010

The Eternal Triangle

Having a pack of filo (aka phyllo) pastry in our fridge, this weekend am planning to use it to make assorted 'samosas', then freezing them. These are triangular shaped pastry parcels that can contain a variety of fillings (almost an endless variety) although the true samosa is normally spicy and eaten with a curry.
There are two ways of cooking filo pastry triangles- either baked in the oven, or fried in deep or shallow oil. The fillings are normally cooked prior to assembly, so it is only the pastry that is cooked long enough to turn it golden and crisp and heat the filling through.
Most samosas can be frozen before being baked (but make sure they are labelled - both when freezing and when cooked and served - as all fillings will be hidden by the pastry and end up looking exactly the same), and many can be cooked from frozen, then eaten hot, warm, or at room temperature.

Here is an alternative to the spicy or fruit filled 'triangles'. Instead of buying ricotta cheese, we could make our own by draining Greek yogurt (home-made of course) through muslin for several hours.
Cheese Triangles: makes 24
5 oz (150g) feta cheese, crumbled
5 oz (150g) ricotta cheese
1 egg, beaten
pinch freshly ground nutmeg
freshly ground black pepper to taste
12 sheets filo pastry
4 oz (100g) butter, melted
Mix the feta cheese, ricotta, egg, nutmeg and pepper together until well combined.
While making the triangles, keep the unused filo pastry covered with a sheet of cling film and then a damp cloth to prevent it drying out.
Place one sheet of pastry on a pastry board and brush it with some melted butter. Place a second sheet on top and brush this also with butter. Cut into four strips lengthways.
Place 2 tsp of the cheese mixture at the right-hand corner of one pastry strip, then take the left-hand corner and fold it over the filling to the edge of the pastry to form a triangle shape. Brush remainder of the pastry strip with butter and continue folding the triangle up and across the length of the strip - keeping the triangle shape (practice the folding process with a piece of newspaper before starting to make the triangles).
Brush the triangle 'packets' with butter and repeat until all the pastry has been used up, and give a final brushing of butter over the surface if these will be baked (no need for this if intending to fry).
At this point the triangles can be frozen. Store in a container with a sheet of baking parchment between each layer. No need to thaw - these can be cooked from frozen.
To cook: place on baking sheets and bake at 180C, 350F, gas 4 for 15 minutes until golden brown. These can also be deep fried until golden. If shallow frying, turn after the underside has turned golden.